We have returned to America! We had a fantastic time in Australia and can't believe the trip is already over. Here is the recap:
The plane -
There and back, Ava was amazing. She slept a ton, played happily while she was awake, and impressed everyone sitting around us. Lucky for us, the flights were both empty and we got an entire middle row to ourselves on both flights.
We spent the first week in Gerringong (approx. 2 hours south of Sydney) at the Peades house. Uncle Dave (as he calls himself - even though we think he should be Grandpa Dave!) and Nanna Lorraine loved meeting Ava and showed her lots of love. Uncle Dave had lots of rules that Ava had to follow such as, 'no head wobbling, no sicking up, no crying,' etc. etc. I think she did pretty well at following them! As always, it was a fantastic time - amazing views, amazing weather, great food, great company and fun day trips.
The Peades house:
Thier beautiful view:
The first day we went to the lobster pot with Dave - no luck that day, but he had caught two a few days before, so Dave and I got to feast on them!
We got to catch up with lots of people while we were there - dinner with John and Karen on the first night, a barbeque with Al, Ro and Rory on the second day, and dinner with Sue and Lloyd later in the week. I also got to catch up with friends Melissa and Naida on Friday - and got to meet Naida's little girl, Zali! She was adorable. It was so good to see them after so many years!
As I said, we went on many day trips including going to Greenpatch for a picnic and walk along the beautiful white sand beaches. Lucky for us, a kangaroo joined us for lunch! Ava's first kangaroo!
Greenpatch - the beautiful white sand beaches:
We also walked to Gerroa for afternoon coffee and tea, went to Kiama one day for a walk, went to Wollongong harbour for coffee and a walk and then Shellharbour Village for fish and chips on the water. Needless to say, there was a lot of activity, but it was all very relaxing. There was time for afternoon naps, reading and walks every day.
Here we are at Kiama Harbour:
Here we are in Gerroa:
After our week in Gerringong, we went to Sydney for 2 nights. We stayed in the Harbourview hotel, which has the most beautiful view of Sydney. You can't stop staring at it!
We walked around the city a bit, hitting the highlights like the Opera House, Circular Quay, George St., Darling Harbour, etc.
We went to the Sydney FC soccer match against Adelaide with Dave, Matt, Alex, Dan, Ame and friends of Matt and Alex.
It was a really good time - lots of beer was consumed! The night finished with dinner in China town! Yum! Ava stayed at the hotel with Lorraine and had a fantastic night. She loves Nanna Lorriane!
We had a barbeque at Matt and Alex's on Sunday (Australian Father's Day). There were a ton of people there to catch up with! Dan, Ame, Matt, Alex, Ro, Al, Ryce, Deb, Warren, and several of Matt and Alex's friends. It was such a good time and Matt and Alex have a great new flat that has a great view of the harbour!
At night Lorraine, Dave, Dave, Ava and I went to a yummy Korean restaurant for dinner near China town. It was a good trip to the city overall.
APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) was happening while we were there and 21 world leaders were coming - including George Bush. There was a TON of security, including big walls, tons of police, and ridiculous road closures for it. They went a little overboard, but luckily while we were there, we weren't inconvenienced at all. They were even closing off the whole Opera House area after we left. Can you imagine coming to Sydney and not being able to go to the Opera House? All for stupid George Bush. Hmmmmphhhh!
Here's Ava and Dave in front of the big fences that were put up everywhere. Ava didn't like them either, as you can see!
Central Coast -
After Sydney, we went to the Central Coast to stay with Deb and Warren. I had been there about 12 years ago, but didn't remember much. It was great to see them and to see more of the area. Warren, Dave, Dave and I went for a nice long bike ride and kayak across the bay from Gosford to Woy Woy. It was really fun, and good to get in some activity! Of course there was some choppy water, lightening and a tad bit of rain to deal with, but still was good fun because there was also random patches of sun, rainbows, and sudden calmness in the water. I think we experienced it all!
The next day we went to the famous Hunter Valley wine region. We went to several wineries and a brewery. We enjoyed it all and bought some wine to enjoy that evening at dinner.
Here everyone is in the Hunter Valley!
Sadly the trip ended the next day, when we ventured back to the airport for the long trip home. It was a cloudy and cold day, whereas the rest of the trip was hot and sunny. It was a great day to leave!
Now, we are home and Ava is trying to adjust back to our time zone. We have a few more activities planned before I go back to work, but basically we are counting down to October 1 with some excitement, but also with some apprehension. It will be hard to leave little Ava during the day, but also will be good to have interaction with others (for both Ava and I!).
Here is Ava on the day of our return enjoying the swings in Alamo Square. She giggled the whole time!
Here are the rest of the pictures from the trip. Enjoy! We sure did!